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Q: Our cat, Myra, was diagnosed with feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). She was in respiratory failure at the time of the diagnosis. Are there any clinical trials under way for cats with this condition? Is there any way we can help?

-- D.C., Columbus, Ohio

A: "Your cat has been diagnosed with [feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy], the most common heart disease in cats," says Dr. Susan Little, feline veterinarian and past president of the Winn Feline Foundation. "Recent studies show that up to 20 percent of apparently healthy cats might have HCM. Many cats with HCM never suffer illness as a result of their heart disease. However, some cats -- and Myra is sadly one of them -- become ill with congestive heart failure or develop blood clots that may lead to paralysis."

Little, of Ottawa, Ont., continues, "We don't have any effective treatment for HCM, although there are drug therapies that may help to stabilize cats with congestive heart failure for a period of time."

The Winn Feline Foundation has worked on solving HCM for many years. In fact, I set up the Ricky Fund at Winn devoted specifically to funding investigators studying this disease.

Learn more at

email: petworld@steve